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<<Here, the calculation would have been 3 x 4 = 12, and there would have been no opening for a mistake in counting.>>

However, there is plenty of room for error in pressing the "+" key instead of the "*" key, etc. If the cashier counted rather than multiplied and didn't question the count, that same cashier could easily press "3+4" and not question the result.

True. Maybe they need more screening of the potential cashiers. Or maybe, given the applicant pool that they have, they should require the cashier to do the math two different ways on a calculator. (Of course, if the applicant pool is really poor, they could make a mistake both times.)

I also just had the thought that maybe the cashier actually had been trained -- NEVER to use intuitive or mental math, and always to use a calculator, or the simple method of counting one by one.

Seems really hard to design a foolproof method here.

At least these days most items for sale come in packages with UPCs on them....

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